Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s approval last year of an application to an intelligence court to extend surveillance of former Trump associate Carter Page is a key component of the Republican memo on alleged FISA abuses, per The New York Times.
The classified document at the heart of the #ReleaseTheMemo controversy claims that the Justice Department failed to inform a FISA court that the unverified Steele dossier formed at least part of the basis of the application. The news could set up a showdown between the White House and DOJ over the next week as the House Intelligence Committee moves to declassify the memo for a public release — a move branded “extraordinarily reckless” by a top DOJ official.
The memo’s primary contention is that F.B.I. and Justice Department officials failed to adequately explain to an intelligence court judge in initially seeking a warrant for surveillance of Mr. Page that they were relying in part on research by an investigator, Christopher Steele, that had been financed by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Democrats who have read the document say Republicans have cherry-picked facts to create a misleading and dangerous narrative. But in their efforts to discredit the inquiry, Republicans could potentially use Mr. Rosenstein’s decision to approve the renewal to suggest that he failed to properly vet a highly sensitive application for a warrant to spy on Mr. Page, who served as a Trump foreign policy adviser until September 2016.